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Black Lives Matter protesters march in Shrewsbury

By Charlotte Bentley | Shrewsbury | Politics | Published: | Last Updated:

More than 200 people turned out to protest in Shrewsbury in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Protesters in Shrewsbury marching against racism

As millions marched across the world against racism and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death by a white police officer, a protest was held in Shrewsbury Quarry today to show solidarity with the cause.

Around 250 protesters of a variety of ages, many of whom were wearing face masks, gathered around the bandstand in the Quarry park at 1pm on Saturday for a short demonstration where social distancing was encouraged.

Protesters gather around the bandstand in the Quarry. Photo: Helen Pitchford

A group of around 100 mainly younger protesters then marched around the park holding signs reading 'Black Lives Matter' and 'No Justice, No Peace' and chanting George Floyd's name before some moved into the town centre.

The protest was organised by local mother Kathryn, who wanted to show solidarity with the movement here in Shropshire.

Kathryn, who did not want her surname used, contacted the Black Lives Matter Shropshire group as well as Black Lives Matter UK for advice on how to stage the protest safely and respectfully.

She said: "It has been amazing and everyone has been brilliant today. It is about listening, kindness, education and respect.

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"Everyone has managed on the most part to be distanced and it has been peaceful. I just tried to get everyone following the same message as other protests.

"I think people do not understand that just because you are supporting one cause does not mean you don't care about anything else. People are dying and we need to speak up."

Police were present at the protest and Kathryn said that they had been great.

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Protesters gather around the bandstand in the Quarry. Photo: Helen Pitchford
Protesters gather around the bandstand in the Quarry. Photo: Helen Pitchford

Alex Whitely and Max Brown, from the Shrewsbury Biscuit podcast which celebrates positive news in Shrewsbury, went down to show their support.

Alex said: "I feel strongly about this but I grew up learning everything I know about racism from reading and books and watching films.

"I would like my little boy seeing this protest to know that people were positive. In the past people have not listened and systematic racism is here in the UK, even with things like Brexit."

The rally in Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens

A global movement has erupted following the death of 46-year-old George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes while he was handcuffed face down in the street.

Chauvin is now facing second-degree murder charges, and the three other officers on the scene during Floyd's killing have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Across the UK thousands of people ignored Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s plea not to gather during lockdown to protest across the country on Saturday.

There were clashes outside Downing Street in London as missiles were thrown and a police officer was knocked off his horse.

Protesters outside the Senedd in Cardiff

Boxing heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua used crutches to join people on a peaceful protest in his home town of Watford.

Many people wore masks and social distancing measures were encouraged during events in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Sheffield and Newcastle, among other cities.

At Friday’s coronavirus news briefing, Mr Hancock warned people against joining the demonstrations this weekend, pointing out “we’re still facing a health crisis and coronavirus remains a real threat”.

But people wanted to show solidarity with those in the US campaigning against police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Protesters on Vauxhall Bridge in London

They also highlighted incidents when black and ethnic minority people in Britain have been victims of racial discrimination and violence at the hands of police and others.

In a speech shared online, 30-year-old Joshua told people in Watford: “We can no longer sit back and remain silent on this senseless, unlawful killings and sly racism on another human being – based on what? Only their skin colour.

“We need to speak out in peaceful demonstrations – just like today, so well done Watford.

“We must not use a demonstration for selfish motives and turn it into rioting and looting.”

Charlotte Bentley

By Charlotte Bentley
Community Reporter - @CharlotteB_Star

Community Reporter at the Shropshire Star, helping under-represented communities to find a voice in Shropshire and Mid Wales. Contact me at charlotte.bentley@shropshirestar.co.uk.

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